The 2016 Minnesota Welsh Hymn Festival was held on Sunday, September 25 at the First Presbyterian Church in Mankato. Stay tuned for details about the 2017 Minnesota Welsh Hymn Festival!
The Welsh Hymn Festival - An Ethnic Tradition
Since the early 1100s, people in the country of Wales have enjoyed singing in harmony. This custom developed through the ages into the tradition of the Gymanfa Ganu (pronounced Guh-mahn-vuh Gah-nee), a festival of singing hymns in harmony.
In the mid to latter part of the 19th century, a large number of immigrants from Wales settled in the Twin Cities and in the south central areas of Mankato/Lake Crystal/Cambria/Le Sueur/Ottawa. They brought with them the tradition of the Gymanfa Ganu.
This tradition has been continued by descendants of those immigrants and, increasingly, others who are not of Welsh descent. The event is organized by the Minnesota Welsh Association.
At the Hymn Festival, members of the congregation are asked to sit according to their voice part (soprano, alto, tenor, bass). The effect is that of a congregation becoming a large massed choir. Hymns are led by a conductor with organ and piano accompaniment. The hymns are sung in English and occasionally in Welsh. During breaks, special music is provided by soloists or choirs.
The Festival traditionally concludes with the Welsh National Anthem and "God Be With You Till We Meet Again."
The Festival is open to all who enjoy harmonious hymn singing!